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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The leader of the North Carolina House says focusing on government efficiencies and fixing the state's indebted unemployment insurance system will free up money so businesses can create jobs and vulnerable citizens are cared for.

House Speaker Thom Tillis made the comments at a news conference Tuesday on the eve of Wednesday's start of work for this year's General Assembly session.

The Mecklenburg County Republican says he doesn't believe his party will be labeled as out of touch or uncaring toward struggling citizens in carrying out its agenda.

A proposal to pay down unemployment debt to the federal government and replenish funds would reduce maximum weekly benefits by as much as one-third. Legislators and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory also are weighing whether to expand Medicaid to more of the uninsured.



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